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The total market for building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) glass will reach $6.4 billion in revenues in 2016, compared to $1.5 billion this year, a new NanoMarkets report finds.

Today's BIPV glass provides transparency well below 50%, and the initial markets for BIPV glass are found in skylights, facades, spandrels, curtain walls and atrium roofing, where high levels of transparency are not required, NanoMarkets says. However, by improving on the current level of transparency, manufacturers of BIPV glass may be able to expand their addressable markets, the report claims.

According to NanoMarkets, one way that transparency can be improved is through new absorber materials, such as very thin layers of copper indium gallium diselenide or advanced dye-sensitized cells (DSC) using more transparent dyes.

Another approach is to use advanced optics to enable the positioning of the PV panels so that they do not block sunlight to the same degree as in conventional BIPV glass panels, the report adds.

A similar evolution is expected to occur in the nature of the BIPV glass products themselves. Currently, all BIPV glass is highly customized to the needs of specific projects. However, as BIPV glass shifts from being used almost exclusively used in prestige building projects to the broader commercial construction market, off-the-the-shelf products will have to be developed that can be sold through large construction firms and PV systems integrators, NanoMarkets explains.

While the first generation of such off-the-shelf products are likely to embody quite similar technology, NanoMarkets says future generations of BIPV glass products will be characterized by monolithic integration and the incorporation of lighting, dimming and self-cleaning capabilities.

The full NanoMarkets report is available here.


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